I’m doing something a little unusual for this TRO installment! In order to maintain privacy, I’m answering a question without providing the specific exchange. Over the past two weeks, several travel advisors reached out to me to let me know that their host are not paying their commissions (sometimes to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars).
When I hear of agents getting shortchanged by hosts, it leaves me with a terrible sinking feeling. Especially during the holiday season…as if travel advisors need more stress this time of year! But, not all hope is lost. If you’re host isn’t forking over your hard-earned commissions (and you’ve already ruled out supplier error or a bookkeeping error) here are a few steps you can take:
- Check out this resource: “Host Agency Not Paying Commissions? Here’s What to Do.” It includes great feedback from host agencies as well as a legal perspective.
- Double check your contract. If you signed a contract with a host agency, it’s possible they may have included a clause that they will only pay out commissions for a certain amount of time after you give notice that you’re leaving them. This means that if they’re only contractually obligated to disburse your commissions 6 months after you leave, you will lose on commissions for travel that take place after that! YIKES. (Stay tuned for an article about what to do when switching host agencies!)
- Reach out to your vendors to rule out vendor error and let them know you’re not being compensated by your host.
- Reach out to the host’s consortium: If your host belongs to a consortium or to an organization like PATH, you’ll can let them know as well.
- If you need legal support, check out this resource: “Travel Industry Lawyer List and Free Legal Docs for Agencies”
- If you suspect that other agents are in the same situation, reach out to them as well and try to organize. This can help strengthen your case and help financially if you end up taking legal action.
- Report the host agency to the Secretary of State to the state the host is located in and in your state.
- Report the host agency to the FTC depending on where you’re located in comparison to your host.
- Leave a review on Host Agency Reviews. While it may seem like a small step, leaving a review of the host agency on Host Agency Reviews stands to have a large impact when it comes to steering prospective travel advisors away from the host agency. Of course, we recommend a measured and detailed review––it’s easy to get emotional (because let’s face it, it is), but tapping into your inner Zen and sticking to the facts will help your cause in the long run.If the host isn’t listed on our site, I still recommend that you reach out to the HAR crew to keep us apprised of the situation. It helps us steer prospective agents to more reliable host agencies!
I hope this will help! The HAR crew wishes you a peaceful winter season and smooth landing into 2019!
Mary Stein joined Host Agency Reviews in 2016 as its editor. She’s passionate about supporting aspiring travel agents to turn their dreams into their livelihood.
A writer by trade, she can be found working on her novel and teaching creative writing workshops when she’s not tooling around on Host Agency Reviews writing articles and newsletters.
She has received awards for her writing from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation and the Loft Literary Center. She lives in Minneapolis, and loves hiking, camping, and traveling (of course!).